Essential Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for Every Business
Are you making the most of social media to grow your brand?
If not, you should be. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. all offer an effective way to interact with customers directly, attract new buyers and increase visibility.
More than one in three consumers surveyed admitted to using social networksto source more information on businesses or products.
But there are certain do’s and don’ts to consider if you want to see real results with social media. Here are some of the best.
DO Interact with Followers
One of the most important factors for any business on social media is to interact with people. A lot.
Just one or two responses to questions or comments isn’t enough. You need to stay on top of this and take advantage of interaction opportunities as they arise. Even if all it takes is a quick thank you or a link to a product or service on your site.
Leaving questions or comments unanswered will frustrate whoever posted them and make other users think your brand undervalues your audience.
DON’T Neglect Branding
Take the time to make your business account look professional. Users may assume it’s fake or question your credibility if they see no images, logos or information.
This may be a customer’s first encounter with your brand. You need to make a good impression and sell yourself as a legitimate company.
Add photos of:
Include contact details, opening hours and more too. Give prospects all the information they need to get in touch.
Think about what you want to see when browsing other companies’ social accounts for inspiration.
DO Embrace Different Media Formats
Images, videos, text, GIFs and audio should all appear in your posts. Mixing your content up on a regular basis keeps it fresh and exciting.
Users will start to get bored of your social activity if they see the same types of content again and again. With so many businesses competing for attention on social networks, you can never take users’ boredom threshold for granted.
Social media posts containing videos tend to earn 48 percent more viewsthan those without, and Facebook racks up more than eight billion video viewsevery day. Even if you just take viewers on a quick tour of your office, warehouse etc. or introduce your team, videos are much more likely to net more attention than text or an image alone.
Just make sure to keep them brief. The longer your videos are, the less appealing they become.
DON’T Try Too Hard to Get Attention
You might be tempted to ask followers to share your business’s posts and comment on them, especially if you’re struggling to get traction.
But appearing desperate for visibility won’t win you any fans. In fact, followers may become frustrated by your requests and block you.
You need to find ways to encourage users to share your content and interact with your posts. And this leads us nicely into the next tip …
DO Host Contests and Giveaways to Stimulate Interest
People love to get something for nothing. It’s a no-brainer.
Take advantage of this by running contests on your social media accounts. Offer prizes followers genuinely want and make entering the competition easy.
One great example of a brand doing this right is Funko, which hosts regular giveaways on Twitter. Followers can take part just by retweeting the relevant post — this gives them a real incentive and involves almost no effort on their part.
But the big benefit for Funko is the sheer number of retweets each giveaway post receives. Thousands of users share them in the hope of winning a product (usually vinyl figures) and boost the brand’s visibility at the same time.
DON’T Use Social Media to Vent
Be wary of using social media as a way to complain about other businesses or customers. And certainly, never bemoan the lack of interest your social media activities generate. Your brand will come across as being petulant and desperate for attention.
Make sure whoever runs your social accounts understands the damage one ill-conceived post can do to your business’s reputation too. They may be having a tough day or feel irritated by their work, but they should never use your business account as a way to get something off their chest.
DO Be Sparing with Sales-focused Posts
You can and should use social media to promote your products or services. But do so sparingly.
Bombarding followers with a stream of heavy-handed posts showing items off won’t do your brand any favors. People are likely to hide your content or unfollow you, and you could see your engagement drop in a big way.
Focus on offering informative, valuable content and interacting with followers more than selling.
DON’T Lie or Overlook Mistakes
Transparency is fundamental for any business looking to retain customers’ trust. That means if your brand makes a mistake or acts inappropriately, you have to own up to it.
Lying about it or trying to pass the blame makes your business appear dishonest. People might lose trust and take their custom elsewhere.
Admit when employees or managers have done something wrong. Apologize. Explain what actions have been taken and how the same mistakes will be avoided in the future.
Take social media seriously. It’s not always easy to reach your target audience and build a following. It’s not always easy to stay on users’ good side either.
But with enough time, effort and creativity, you can make social media work for you.
At Reputation Mart, our expert team is here to help you make the most of social media and grow your brand. We’ve worked with countless businesses to expand their reach, build interest in their products / services and achieve positive results.
Want to know more about our social media marketing service? Just get in touch today!
The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make Responding to Customer Reviews
Like it or not, reviews matter.
Research shows 91 percent of people read online reviews regularlyor occasionally, with 84 percent trusting them as much as personal recommendations.
Furthermore, 90 percent of consumers decidewhether they can trust a business or not after reading 10 reviews. Surprisingly, 32 percent will have an opinion on a company, product or service after checking out one to three reviews.
Enough bad reviews can leave future customers reluctant to choose your brand over others and impact your reputation in the long run. Fortunately, you have the power to respond to reviews and interact with customers, addressing problems or questions for effective damage control.
But you have to be careful when doing this — making mistakes could exacerbate issues and harm your reputation.
Here are some of the most important errors to avoid when responding to reviews.
Top Mistakes to Avoid when Responding to Reviews
Becoming Angry and Blaming the Customer
Responding to online reviews is a little different to interacting with an unsatisfied customer face to face.
For example, if you run a restaurant and an unsatisfied diner approaches you to complain about their undercooked pizza, you can take them to a quiet corner to discuss the situation. Perhaps you offer to refund them. Maybe you give them a dessert on the house. Or both.
If the conversation becomes heated, you can at least invite the diner into your office for a private chat. Fellow diners may or may not hear you resolve the situation, but the important thing is ensuring the unhappy customer leaves satisfied.
When you face a scathing review online, you need to remain just as professional and eager to please. Yes, it’s easier to see the customer as a faceless person and type without thinking but doing so could put others off your business for good.
Acknowledge any mistakes yourself or employees may have made and apologize. Never try to put the blame on the reviewer.
If they really were responsible for a problem, though, explain how you tried to resolve the situation in a calm, clear way.
Ignoring Criticism Altogether
Never, evertry to sweep negative points in a review under the metaphorical carpet.
If you do, the customer and other readers will see what you’re doing immediately. When someone criticizes your products, services, staff or premises, meet them head-on. Ask for more clarification if their initial review is vague or thank them for drawing your attention to a flaw you were perhaps unaware of.
Ignoring bad comments or entirely-negative reviews will only make you appear unprofessional. Learn from valid criticisms and explore opportunities to improve your business.
Relying on Generic Responses
Generic responses to reviews can be infuriating, especially when the writer has asked a question or raised valid issues.
Responding with a simple ‘thank you for your feedback’ when a customer has published a long, well-written review featuring numerous points that deserve to be addressed is lazy. It implies you don’t value your buyers’ views and that your company is unwilling to make time for them.
Be specific with every response (or as many as you can), whether the review is good or bad. Thank the writer for taking the time to praise or criticize. Explain that you will take recommendations on board and make necessary changes. Use the reviewer’s name to make them feel acknowledged and valued too.
Not Offering Contact Information for Further Interaction
When a customer leaves negative feedback, you may feel further discussion is needed to handle the problem with the utmost professionalism.
There are multiple benefits to taking the conversation off-site:
You may be unable to deal with all negative reviews in this way (depending on the size of your customer service team) but doing whenever you can shows your brand in a better light. Always appear to be helpful and committed to keeping your audience happy.
Giving Rewards in Exchange for Positive Feedback
While it may be tempting to offer customers a little gift in exchange for a positive review, it’s always best to avoid this.
For one thing, this violates some review sites’ rules and could damage your reputation if consumers are made aware of your underhanded tactics. They may wonder how bad your products or services are if you have to actually bribe people into leaving good reviews.
Furthermore, offering rewards for positive feedback means you won’t get an honest insight into your customers’ experience. You couldn’t ‘pay off’ everyone if you consistently deliver bad service, and negative feedback will inevitably surface.
The reverse of this is punishing customers who leave unfavorable reviews. One hotel in New York was found to be essentially fining guests who chose to write negative feedback$500, and promising to give the money back if said feedback was removed.
The fee was part of a deposit paid by couples booking the venue for their wedding and applied to reviews left by any member of the party.
Don’t make this mistake. Take time to read and digest as many reviews as possible, whether they’re positive, negative or neutral. Be willing to recognize bad habits and mistakes. Take action to fix problems and show customers how much you value their input.
Honest feedback that gives a true representation of your products or services will only help your brand improve.
Avoid making any of these mistakes when responding to customer reviews. Otherwise, you risk making existing issues worse and chasing more prospects away from your business in the future.
Want to discover how our professional team can manage your reputation online? Just get in touch!
How to Get Real Instagram Followers for Your Business Fast
Any business with a Facebook or Twitter account knows how hard attracting new followers can be. It takes time, effort and creative thinking to stand out from every other company in your sector vying for prospects’ attention. And we’re talking real followers here, not bots or spammers with nothing valuable to contribute.
But winning real followers on Instagram is harder. Much harder.
Even global brands with a huge customer base tend to attract fewer real followers on Instagram than they do on other social networks. Let’s take Virgin Atlantic as an example, one of the world’s biggest airlines catering to millions of travelers each year.
On Twitter, Virgin Atlantic has 601K followers — but only 407K on Instagram.
Both big numbers, but there’s quite a difference.
Delta Air Lines, on the other hand, boasts 865K Instagram followers but an impressive 1.52M on Twitter.
And if even leading airlines struggle to match their Twitter numbers on Instagram, just think how much harder it is for small enterprises.
But don’t worry there are a few actions you can take to get real followers — fast.
Work with Influencers
Influencers make a big difference to companies’ visibility on Instagram. Take the Kardashian / Jenner dynasty, for example. It’s believed Kim Kardashian may earn more than $300,000 for sponsored postsrecommending specific brands, though it could be even more in some cases.
Obviously, trying to forge an alliance with celebrities so high up the food chain is totally out of the question for small businesses, but you could still investigate other avenues. Influencers can help raise brand profiles across all sectors, bringing you to the attention of hundreds, thousands or even millions of real people.
But researching, finding and setting up deals with influencers isn’t easy. It demands a lot of time and energy — two things you simply don’t have if you operate a skeleton crew or even a one-person show. And then there’s the matter of money: the bigger the influencer, the higher the price.
Keep all these factors in mind before committing to working with an influencer.
Get Involved in Trends
Instagram users can search for topics of interest with hashtags. This makes it simpler for your business to increase your posts’ potential visibility, but you can’t just leave it at that.
You have to get involved in trends to really make an impact. Look for the most popular topics and try to interact with other users in a way that’s relevant to your brand. You want to reveal a little of the business’s human side, boost engagement and still drive traffic to your site.
But keeping track of trending topics and contributing to conversations or movements is an ongoing commitment. If your enterprise lacks a social media marketer dedicated to handling your accounts on Instagram, Facebook etc., you could end up missing out on invaluable engagement opportunities.
There is a risk, though, that spending hours and hours marketing your business on Instagram each week takes your eye off the main goal: running your company successfully. You need to find a way to balance your social media management and your responsibilities to the business.
Use the Right Hashtags
Staying on the topic of trends, using the right hashtags in your Instagram posts is essential to stay at the top of your marketing game. You can use up to 30 hashtags for every image you post — and you need to take advantage of them all to increase your contents’ reach.
The most effective posts, though, use the most relevant, current, trending hashtags. You need to stay up to date on what other businesses in your sector do to make their posts more likely to attract new followers, including the type of hashtags they use.
You can always learn from your competitors, whether they’re bigger or smaller than you: see what they’re doing right and wrong. Are they adding plenty of hashtags but with incorrect spellings (a bad mistake that implies sloppiness and reduces the hashtag’s effect)? On the other hand, are they using impactful hashtags that help them recruit new followers every day?
Tracking the most influential, popular and effective hashtags can be difficult if you’re new to Instagram or simply can’t find the time. Ideally, you need an expert to stay on top of your Instagram account, keep your posts as effective as they can be and win new followers consistently.
Create a Unique Style
You have to stand out on Instagram. Let’s repeat that for emphasis.
You HAVE to stand out on Instagram.
There’s just too much competition out there for you to blend in.
Developing your own style of visuals and tone of voice goes a long way to making your business’s Instagram content unique. But there’s a lot of work involved before you can actually get there.
Think about what’s appropriate for your brand and your target audience. One of the first rules of launching and growing a successful enterprise is knowing exactly who you’re targeting. That’s just as true here.
Creating a style that’s too quirky for your fairly conservative audience will only alienate them, and even cost you followers in the long run. But adopting a style that’s too bland for your cool, creative demographic will have the same effect.
This is a complex process and may be a delicate balancing act for certain businesses whose audiences span multiple demographics. Making too many mistakes while you try to nail down the perfect approach could lose you followers faster than you realize — and they may be hard to win back.
Trust the Experts
Getting real Instagram followers fast is possible, but it can be incredibly tough if you’re new to the platform, the challenging world of business or if you’re overworked and under-resourced. Running a growing company is difficult enough at times without the added pressure of trying to master one of the world’s most competitive social networks.
That’s why trusting a team of experts to create an effective strategy for your enterprise is the smartest choice. You can save precious time and money by avoiding costly mistakes — Reputation Mart’s specialists have helped many businesses grow their social presence through well-researched, well-designed, well-executed campaigns suited to their budget.
Want to learn more about how we can help you? Get in touch now!
Expert Tips for Creating Killer SEO Content in 2019
How important is content in your digital marketing campaign?
Very. In fact, it’s one of THE most important aspects of achieving and maintaining visibility in a competitive marketplace.
This year, it’s estimated over 80 percent of companies in the United States with 100 or more employees will take advantage of content marketingstrategies to further their impact.
But the quality of that content is crucial: no business can afford to just toss blog posts or articles onto their websites without making sure they’re of a high standard first.
And not just that, but actually creating the right type of content is equally important too.
So, let’s check out some of our expert tips for creating killer SEO content in 2019 …
Your Content Should Prioritize Readability
Once upon a time, businesses tried to scale the top of the SERPs by manipulating search engines through poor-quality content. They would stuff blogs, articles and product descriptions with keywords without caring how unpleasant this was for readers.
So, for a few sentences describing a red hat, you could expect to see such nonsense as: “buy our new red hat from our selection of red hats here at the Red Hat Company. We’re big fans of red hats and believe everyone should have a red hat, as red hats …”
That may be a slight exaggeration, but it demonstrates just how ridiculous the results can be when you overdo keyword density. Those days are long gone, and Google just doesn’t stand for it anymore, so always make readability your focus rather than viewing content as a vehicle for target search terms.
Keep your content clear, well-organized and structured in a logical way. Emphasize simplicity in all aspects to ensure visitors can digest the information you’re conveying in a quick, easy scroll.
Plenty of white space on your page enhances the reading experience, creating a cleaner page and reducing distractions. And that’s critical in an age when mobile browsing is the normfor most of us.
Know Who You’re Creating Content for
You can’t just throw any type of content out there to see what sticks: you have to take a strategic approach to identifying your target audience and appealing to them as best you can.
This maximizes your chances of making a positive impact on prospective and existing customers alike. Take a look at your audience’s buying habits, your highest-performing pages and other details (age, location etc.).
All this information makes it easier to determine what your content should focus on, dictating the tone, style, subjects and more. Think about why your readers NEED this content — what value does it offer, what problems does it solve and how will it improve their life (even in the smallest ways)? What are the most competitive and high-performing keywords for your demographic(s)?
Once you have a deeper understanding of your audience, you may need to create different content types to appeal to specific segments. This is vital if people from significantly-diverse demographics invest in your products or services.
Enhance Text with Visuals
Don’t just rely on text alone.
This is a simple but essential factor when establishing an effective content marketing strategy. Images, video, infographics and screenshots all help to improve the visual texture of your content.
93 percent of human communication is based on visuals as the majority of information sent to the brain is visual, which means it processes images a staggering 60,000 times more quickly than it does text. This highlights just how much more engaging your content will be if you intersperse text with visual media.
You have to do this wisely, though — all images, videos and infographics should reinforce the points you’re making with your text. Don’t just fill your pages with images as this could lead to clutter and overwhelm readers.
And don’t forget too many visuals can impact your visitors’ experience on mobile devices if you don’t optimize them properly.
Make Your Content Snippet Worthy
Featured snippets have become a key part of users’ browsing experience. If you’re looking for information on almost any topic, Google will present you with a selection of questions and answers pulled from various websites.
This is a fast, effective way to access valuable insights before you actually visit a domain, persuading you to click through to learn more.
Providing a user with a definitive answer increases your site’s appeal and lends a sense of authority: they’ll feel they can trust your content and be more likely to want a deeper insight. This is where investing time into well-written, fact-based content pays off.
You should take advantage of your team’s skills, experience and personal insights to establish your website as a source of reliable information too. You can do this across various types of content — blog posts, articles, infographics, videos and white papers. Experiment with different formats to keep your site fresh.
Make sure to include stats (with links to credible sources) and structure your content in a way that allows for a logical, fluid flow. This aids readability in general and if it’s selected for a featured snippet.
Creating killer SEO content isn’t easy but the payoff is well worth the challenge. Developing an effective strategy for your content is critical for your business, no matter how big or small it is, no matter your sector.
If you’re operating in an industry with hundreds of competitors vying for customers’ time and money, your content can help expand your reach and generate much-needed traffic.
Determining who your target audience is, what appeals to them (remembering to focus on different segments) and how best to convey valuable information will steer you on the right path.
Our team of experts will work with you to create a bespoke SEO strategy and optimize your website for maximum impact, including delivering high-quality content that’s right for your business.
Our blog posts and articles are written by professional copywriters for consistent quality you can trust.
Want to know more? Get in touch with our expertsnow!
8 Common PPC Mistakes You Might Be Making
Launching a PPC campaign is a critical marketing step for every business, no matter how big or small it may be.
But there’s a world of difference between running a PPC campaign and running one well. There are plenty of mistakes to make if you don’t have the knowledge, training or experience to guide you in the right direction. Even minor errors can cost you money and prospects over time.
To help you get ahead, Reputation Mart’s experts explore the 8 common PPC mistakes you might be making below.
#1. A Disconnect Between Ads and Landing Pages
You’ve created an ad that packs a punch and makes prospects an offer they can’t refuse. Let’s say you promise customers a 50 percent discount on their first purchase with you, or claim you have hundreds of products on sale at a 70 percent reduction.
Both are pretty impressive deals, but you have to make sure to showcase these on your landing page. Any prospects who click on your ad and realize the deals they were promised are nowhere to be seen when they reach the page may feel cheated.
And you could lose them for good.
The lesson: always make sure your ads and landing pages are relevant to each other.
#2. Neglecting Your Ads
Daily monitoring is essential to maintain a successful PPC campaign. While it’s tempting to spend hours creating an irresistible ad and assuming you can just leave it for months without any further attention, that’s not the case at all.
Monitoring your PPC ads daily gives you valuable insights into their performance and reach. You could be completely unaware of important changes if you leave your ads to run on their own, such as a major reduction in clicks or increased traffic.
This is just one reason why trusting a professional PPC team to run your campaign is a smart choice, for businesses of all scales.
#3. Not Specific Enough with Keywords
Your keywords must be the best possible match for your products and services. Every ad you put out there to attract customers has to be accurate and tailored to your target audience.
If you use broad or inaccurate keywords, you could be throwing money away as prospects may not find what they’re looking for after clicking on your ad. You’ll still be charged but without securing any valuable customer engagement.
#4. Overlooking Negative Keywords
Staying on the subject of keywords, don’t make the mistake of ignoring or overlooking negative keywords.
These are a vital part of any successful PPC campaign: as the name suggests, negative keywords are those search terms you DON’T want to trigger your ads. Take advantage of negative keywords to save yourself from the risk of paying for clicks that go nowhere.
Coming up with a list of negative keywords takes a little extra time when launching a PPC campaign, but it’s well worth doing in the long run. You should keep adding to said list as you continue to find new search terms you want to avoid.
#5. Weak Ad Copy
The text in your ads has to be of the highest quality. The right words have the power to attract new visitors to your business and convert them into customers, even if bigger companies have ads close to your own on the SERPs.
But getting the copy in your ads right is easier said than done, unless you have strong writing skills and years of experience managing PPC campaigns. One effective way to find inspiration is to look at your competitors’ ads, especially those with the highest authority. What language do they use? How do they structure their headlines? What about their ad extensions?
Absorb what you see and read and use this to inform your own ad copy.
#6. Not Testing Variations
You should be testing multiple variations of ads at any one time. This is a fantastic way to determine which techniques work best and which should be dropped in the future, so you can keep getting maximum bang for your buck.
Experiment with different extensions, tones and approaches. Use a sale as the basis for one ad and brand new products for another. Try a mix of short and long-tail keywords. After a set period, check out the analytics to see which gained the most traction.
This process streamlines decision making in the future a little, as you know what works and what doesn’t.
#7. Not Paying Attention to Locations
The freedom to target specific areas with your ads is ideal for local businesses or those shipping to various locations.
But make sure your ads aren’t appearing for users in areas you don’t cater to, as you’ll end up paying for clicks that have no real chance of leading to conversions. Users will become frustrated when they browse your product catalog — and possibly try to place orders — only to discover they’re out of your range.
It’s possible to bid higher or lower based on target users’ location, which is (again) a major advantage for local businesses trying to attract nearby prospects.
#8. Not Tracking Conversions
Conversion Tracking is a terrific feature well worth taking advantage of. This does exactly what it appears to: tracking your conversions to ensure you know how effectively your ads are securing sales from newcomers.
Google’s tool shows what customers do after interacting with your ad. Perhaps they went on to buy one or more of your products. Maybe they registered for your newsletters, or downloaded that free eBook you offer.
Conversion Tracking reveals which keywords and ads make the biggest impact, and help you make effective bidding decisions for the best ROI.
Starting a PPC campaign for your business can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. But as long as you avoid these eight mistakes, you could go on to drive more traffic to your site, boost conversions and get a better return on your investment.
Reputation Mart’s expert team has the training, experience and tools to create a bespoke PPC campaign for your company. We’ll perform a free PPC Account Evaluationfor your Google Ads or Facebook Ads account, to reveal how you perform compared to your competitors.
Want to know more? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
7 Key Threats to Your Business’s Online Reputation
How much importance does the average consumer place on reviews? Do other people’s experiences with your brand affect their decision to part with their hard-earned cash?
The answer to both is a resounding yes.
Believe it or not, a staggering 84 percent of consumers trust online reviewsjust as much as a personal recommendation, and 90 percent read said reviews before even visiting a company (or its website).
If your reviews, feedback and testimonials across the web are negative, you can expect to see a real impact on your bottom line. That’s why managing your online reputation and being aware of the risks is so important.
Here are 7 key threats to your business’s online reputation and how to deal with them.
1. Bad reviews
As we mentioned in our intro, bad reviews have the power to influence a huge portion of consumers.
Failing to deliver the quality of customer experience people expect (or are willing to tolerate in exchange for good products or services) means you could end up amassing a large number of negative reviews — and alienate prospects before they’ve even had an opportunity to try your company for themselves.
Review sites and social media are breeding grounds for views with the power to damage your reputation. Monitoring them and responding to as many as you can is vital, but the best approach is to make it easier for people to leave good reviews instead.
This means evaluating those aspects of your company which appear in complaints again and again. Are your team’s responses too slow? Do you need to hire more agents to accommodate demand? What about trying to improve the quality of your products by switching manufacturers?
Take the time to consider common sources of dissatisfaction and address them ASAP.
2. Management Speaking their Mind
Keeping everyone within your business in check can be difficult, especially those on the top rungs of the ladder.
But it’s essential to avoid any outbursts or unintentional offense, as these can have a lasting impact on the paying public.
For example, American Apparel’s Dov Charney drew negative attention to the brand for some of his comments on delicate matters, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary is known for his loose tongue and Abercrombie & Fitch’s Mike Jeffries famously sparked outrage with his views on the type of customers his company wanted to attract.
Your CEO and other high-ranking individuals must be responsible in their behavior: speaking without thinking can leave consumers unwilling to do business with you ever again.
3. Failing to Monitor your Reputation and Address Problems
It’s tempting to focus on running a business and ignoring what people have to say about it online. But this is a major mistake.
Consumers who see negative reviews or posts on social media without any response are likely to assume your company simply doesn’t care. They could see it as a sign of arrogance or an admission of guilt, neither of which does you any favors.
Make sure your online reputation is monitored and steps are taken to improve public perception of your business.
4. Passing the Buck
Never play the blame game in a crisis. Pointing the finger at a complaining customer or trying to throw a third-party under the proverbial bus will do more harm than good.
Businesses should always admit when they’ve made a mistake — either accidentally or by design — and apologize. Action may need to be taken to put things right and maintain your reputation. For example, freebies or discounts would be a fitting response in the case of massive shipping delays or failures.
Consumers value brand transparency more than ever today, especially on social media. Lying or trying to downplay a faux pas could do more harm than you realize.
5. Disgruntled Employees
Not all of your employees will love their job. Some of them may genuinely like it. Others may find it fine for the moment. But others could very well loathe it — and that might make them a threat.
Workers who have been treated poorly, fired without good reason or discriminated against could vent their frustration on social media. Within hours, thousands or even millions of people may discover your brand isn’t all it seems before you’re even aware.
The lesson? Make sure you have practises in place to ensure all employees feel valued, respected and well-compensated for their work. And an open-door policy can encourage them to speak up about problems well before they feel forced to go public.
6. Lack of Control on Social Media
Be careful which employees have access to your social media. One of the key dangers to your online reputation is a worker with bad intentions seizing control of your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Perhaps they want to be fired. Maybe they want to sabotage your business for treating them badly. Or they could even create a post in good faith without realizing how offensive it could be.
Keep tight control of your social media accounts, and update logins regularly to reinforce their security.
7. Others Acting in your Name
Finally, make sure you own all websites related to your brand, products or services directly. If you fail to claim a domain for your company’s exact title, someone else could — and start causing trouble.
They could scam consumers out of money or post distasteful content and cause controversy to harm your reputation. Don’t make it easier for anyone to disrupt your company’s work: invest in the right domains as soon as you can, or approach the current owners to work out a deal. Otherwise, a large part of your online presence will be out of your control.
Failing to consider these 7 key threats to your business’s online reputation is dangerous. Every company, no matter how big or small, depends on a positive image to retain customers and attract new ones. Even global powerhouses can be dealt a serious blow if they overlook this.
Want to discover how our experts can help you build a better online reputation? Just get in touch today!
Why is Mobile Website Optimization Crucial for Your Business?
How often do you browse the internet on your smartphone?
Chances are, the answer is ‘a lot’. Research shows smartphone-users spend just over three hours a dayon their device on average, accounting for over half of their overall consumption of digital content.
It’s been a few years since Google confirmed mobile searches were overtaking those performed on a desktop, and this just keeps growing. It’s no longer an option for businesses to ignore how their website performs on smartphones and tablets — every single company must take this into account to stay relevant.
Mobile optimization must be part of your digital marketing strategy: an effective SEO campaign will help your customers enjoy a smoother, more intuitive experience on their mobile devices.
Harnessing the Power of Mobile Search
Browsing a website on your phone is natural for most of us now. The prospect of having to set up your laptop or even sit at your desktop to look something up online feels quite alien.
Now, if we want to know what movies are showing at the local theatre, how the Maple Leafs did in their last game or where you can find a great pizza at the end of a night’s bar-hopping, we just reach for our phone.
But any website that feels clunky or fails to load properly on said device will only inspire frustration. It’s likely you’ll just click back to the search engine results page and find the next best site. In fact, 40 percent of consumers will turnto a competitor’s websitefollowing a negative mobile experience.
You can’t afford to risk this. Taking steps to optimize your website for mobile devices is paramount: competing with other businesses can be difficult enough — don’t give existing and prospective customers any reason to go elsewhere.
55 percent of all conversions leading to a purchase take place within just one hour of an initial mobile search. Furthermore, brands with mobile-optimized websites increase their chances of boosting their mobile conversion rate to 5 percent or above.
Key Factors in Mobile Website Optimization
So, now that we’ve established how important a mobile-optimized website is, what are the most important elements?
Get Your Text Right
Few things are more annoying for mobile users than having to constantly zoom in or out to read text properly.
Responsive mobile websites scale text automatically to suit the device being used: that means no zooming, no rotating the phone. Just a convenient, user-friendly format.
This is ideal if the user is in a hurry and needs answers within seconds. You have to value your customers’ time as much as they do.
On the topic of text, mobile websites should keep content streamlined and easy to digest. Any visitor confronted by a wall of words is likely to just scroll down to the find the information they’re looking for anyway or just go elsewhere.
Pages Must Load Fast
Remember above, when we said how you should value your customers’ time? That’s just as important when discussing load times.
We’ve all experienced the irritation of pages taking too long to load. You sit and watch while one image appears at a time, or a video seems to buffer for hours. It doesn’t exactly make your browsing experience enjoyable, and this only gets worse if a business has already done something to raise your hackles.
Research by Google revealed 70 percent of pages take seven secondsto load fully, which is problematic considering the probability of visitors leaving increases 106 percent for load times of up to six seconds. That grows to 123 percent for load times beyond 10 seconds.
It’s essential to prevent bloat on your mobile pages as much as possible to deliver a satisfying experience.
Keep Your Visuals Visible
Following on from load times, visual content is a major cause of slowing web pages down. Videos and images which are too big will either take too long to appear in full or fail to display at all.
Videos and pictures should be visible on all mobile devices and be able to load quickly. Your mobile site will seem unprofessional and poorly-designed if users are left struggling to make sense of your visuals.
Interaction should be Easy
Visitors to your mobile site should be able to interact with it and navigate pages as easily as they would on their computer. Menus must be logical and clear, buttons must be clickable without having to zoom in and forms must be simple to complete.
Interacting with websites may seem easier on desktops because you have a mouse, a cursor and a larger screen to leverage. But a well-optimized mobile site is just as user-friendly, regardless of the device it’s used on.
Buttons (especially CTAs) should be easy to tap with one finger. If buttons are clustered together, visitors may end up choosing the wrong option — potentially taking an action they don’t want to. This can lead to big mistakes, such as if your site offers one-click purchases.
Dropdown menus deserve careful attention too: users need to scroll through the options smoothly and accurately.
Reduce Pop-up Advertising
Pop-up ads have the power to make mobile sites slower and less user-friendly. Customers could be on the verge of taking an action — such as making a purchase — only for their screen to be filled with a request to sign up for your newsletter or to buy the product they were about to anyway.
Not only would this delay a positive action, it could feel intrusive and prompt the prospect to think twice. While pop-ups are a helpful feature, their presence on mobile sites should be reduced for smoother performance.
Mobile websites are an essential part of any business’s online presence. Customers want a fast, convenient way to find the products, services or information they need — and if they can’t get it from you, they’ll get it from someone else.
Reputation Mart’s team of SEO experts can help your website provide a stronger user experience on all devices. Want to learn more? Just get in touch now!
Are You a Business Owner and Still Question the Value of Local Business Listings?
When it comes to local business listing, many local business owners question its value. Why would you pay someone to maintain, update and optimize local business listings, including Google Maps?
The value has become obvious for many mostly through trial and error, and after engaging the right digital marketing partner. Every business owner would like to spend less and attract more customers to buy a product or service. Simple, right?
Pay per click (PPC) campaigns when managed professionally bring enough leads and customers through the door. Yet, for many industries, it can be a very costly proposition. In some industries, businesses owners pay between $20-$100 per click that does not guarantee that they will convert that particular visitor as a lead or a paying customer.
Consequently, those who discovered and mastered local business listings, always come on top (literally) as their products or services displayed at the top of the page right below the ads. That's right website SEO junkies; Google Maps results are presented ABOVE the organic search results.
I'm not trying to diminish the importance of the website SEO, not at all, yet many local businesses, including dentists, contractors, doctors, chiropractors, spas, IT service providers, etc., can significantly benefit from a well optimized local business listing.
Still not convinced? Here is proof I've promised.
Statistics below are for January of 2019 - one-month, whereby our customers received:
Not bad right? If you are getting free calls and new customers from your listings, great! And if you are not, give us a call today, and we will be happy to help.
To your success!
How to Engage with Your Customers on Social Media
Social media is an invaluable customer-service channel for businesses of all sizes, across all industries.
Research shows 1 in 4 users follow companiesthey may buy from on social media, and close to 40 percent are following their favorite companies. It’s a fantastic way to stay connected with your existing and potential customers, manage your reputation and ultimately grow your brand.
However, if they follow a number of different brands on Facebook, Twitter etc., their feed may easily become clogged with posts promoting different businesses.
That’s why you have to make yours stand out from the crowd and work hard to maximize engagement. How can you do that?
Avoid Shameless Self-promotion
While it’s tempting to keep sharing images of your latest products or tell the world you’ve sold your millionth item, too many self-congratulatory posts can alienate your followers.
Make sure you’re taking an interest in your audience, your industry and what people want from your brand. Ask them questions, both relevant to your services and more general. For example:
These are just a few ideas that demonstrate how broad your questions can be. While some may go unanswered, particularly for smaller businesses with a growing customer-base, you’re demonstrating that you value followers’ input and want to hear from them.
Respond Sooner Rather than Later
When people respond to your questions or posts, it’s vital that you respond. Even if a follower is criticizing your products / services or complaining about your brand quite aggressively, don’t just ignore them.
Why? Because others will see when you’ve failed to respond — and it suggests your business puts no value on customer feedback. Get involved with comments on your posts and show your audience you care.
If someone is putting your company down in a way that could scare potential customers away, ask them to send you a private message so you can take your discussion away from public visibility. This is a professional move that reduces the risk to your reputation and enables you to focus entirely on the individual, rather than juggling multiple users.
Maintain a Consistent Style
Maybe you’re quirky. Maybe you’re serious. Maybe you have a lighthearted tone.
Establishing a brand style for social media is key, and it should match that of your entire business. It would be incredibly inappropriate for, say, funeral directors to share humorous content on their Facebook page and trying to joke with followers asking about their services.
If your brand is based around a fun, dynamic personality, bring that to your social accounts. Let followers see the human side to your company, and always be honest.
Whatever tone you adopt, just make sure it’s consistent: don’t let it change from one post to another. Otherwise, you could confuse, frustrate and alienate your followers over time.
Don’t quite know how you want your business to ‘sound’ on social media? Look at your competitors or companies you wish to emulate. What kind of language do they incorporate into their posts? How do they engage with followers?
Stay Active and Regular
If users visit your Facebook page or browse your Twitter feed and see no recent activity, they may feel your business isn’t worth following. After all, what value does it offer them? Why should they waste their time browsing through old posts?
Upload posts, share content from your own website, get involved with industry developments and more. Take an interest in companies specializing in products that complement your own, interact with influencers and don’t be afraid to take part in trends that could help attract attention.
However, keep it positive — never court controversy. This could backfire and cause significant damage to your reputation.
One effective technique is to create a publishing schedule, so yourself and your team know exactly when new posts are necessary.
Be Generous with Visuals
Images are essential for your social media posts. Why?
Because research shows that Facebook posts including pictures achieved 87 percentof all engagements.
Posts with strong visuals attached will stand out more than text-only ones as followers scroll through their feeds, and if they’re eye-catching enough they can inspire the user to stop. If they like what they see, they could share it with their friends and put your brand in front of more people than you might have reached otherwise.
Make sure your images are relevant and original. Avoid stock pictures people will have seen at countless websites already — you will appear cheap and lazy. Try to create professional photographs or illustrations that jump out of the screen.
Avoid Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Big brands can juggle multiple social networks: they have the budget and the resources to maintain a strong presence.
But if you’re a smaller business, you’ll have limited capacity and may be restricted to just one or two networks instead. You have to be able to stay active on each and build a real relationship with followers.
This is much trickier to do if you’re spread too thin. Being present and able to interact with minimal delay can help you maintain a solid reputation. Consider hiring a professional team to monitor your reputation and help you keep your audience happy.
Engaging your customers on social media is crucial to build and sustain interest in your company. At Reputation Mart, our team has you covered: we’ll send you real-time alerts by email whenever someone online refers to your business.
This is a terrific way to prevent your brand’s image being represented poorly and stay on top of customer reviews / feedback. (both positive and negative)
Want to know more about how we can help? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
10 Essential SEO Tips for Small Businesses
Today’s small businesses have more ways to expand their reach and make an impact than ever, but some (sadly) don’t take full advantage of them. Why? Because SEO is hard, can be expensive and does not produce immediate results. Businesses that invest in SEO today, will strive tomorrow. Those still on the fence, will most likely fade away.
Believe it or not, 59 percent of very small Canadian companies have no website whatsoever— with 41 percent even thinking theirs is too small to justify building a site!
Establishing a strong online presence can make a big difference to all businesses, no matter how small yours might be. SEO will help you rank higher on search engine result pages and gain more visibility, though it can be pretty daunting if you’re new to running your own business.
But don’t worry: Reputation Mart’s SEO experts have put their heads together to bring you the 10 essential SEO tips for small businesses below …
#1. Check out your Competitors
What are your biggest rivals doing online? What techniques do they use to make an impact? How do they structure their site? How often do they publish blog posts? Answer these questions and see what you can learn.
Take a look at the type of content they produce and the keywords they’re targeting. They might publish guest posts at popular blogs, produce high-quality videos on their YouTube channel, and any number of other things to maintain high rankings.
Pick just one or two of your highest-ranking competitors to study — don’t spread yourself too thin.
#2. Be Cautious with your Keywords
Once upon a time, it was common to see keyword stuffing on small-business websites: the same search terms would be crammed into each page of content, even if that made it virtually unreadable.
They were basically trying to cheat search engines, but many algorithm updates since have rectified this issue. You can be penalized for keyword stuffing today, so always be careful with your keywords. Focus on creating content that flows well and provides plenty of value to readers.
#3. Encourage Customer Reviews
A good reputation is essential. Positive feedback and reviews can help your small business attract new customers, so don’t be afraid to ask buyers to share their opinions.
Reviews can create helpful backlinks to your site, build trust in prospects and contribute to your overall online presence. Always be willing to respond to customers across social media and review sites, even if to defend yourself against complaints. People want to see businesses of all sizes value consumer opinions.
#4. Put More Thought into your Titles and Descriptions
Titles and descriptions play a significant part in good SEO. These tell visitors and search engines what they can expect when they click on your result, but there are certain things you can do to maximize their value.
Your title tags should feature main keywords as close to the start as possible, but only if this doesn’t affect readability. Users and search engines will see when you’re stuffing keywords in to the detriment of quality.
#5. Feel the Need for Speed
How quickly do your pages load?
The average time taken for a mobile landing page to load is 22 seconds— and research shows over half of people will abandon a page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
That doesn’t leave you with much leeway. You have to optimize your website to keep load times down: convenience is critical, and users have millions of other pages to check out if yours is too slow. Speed is one of Google’s ranking factors too.
#6. Blogging Matters
Just because you’re a smaller business than industry rivals doesn’t mean you have less to say than they do.
A blog is the perfect place to share your insights and establish your business as a valuable resource for readers. However, your blog content must be of a high standard: you have to write posts people want to read and share.
Use keywords sparingly in your blog, link to high-authority sites and use images / videos to break up the text. Make it easy for users to share the post across social media and structure it with headers (H1, H2 etc.) to help search engines understand the content’s main points.
#7. Proper Site Structure is Vital
Structure your website’s content into clear categories and implement a user-friendly layout. Visitors and search engines must be able to navigate your site easily, following a logical progression.
Make sure your menu covers the entire site and pages have relevant titles. Avoid trying to be clever or cryptic: there’s nothing wrong with calling your company profile page ‘about us’ and your catalog of goods ‘products’.
Put yourself in your users’ shoes and see how accessible your site is from their perspective.
#8. Embrace Social Media
Social media gives you a valuable way to communicate with existing and potential customers. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and more — they’re all a direct line to your audience.
As a small business, though, you’ll be spreading yourself too thin if you try to use them all by yourself straight away. Identify which network is the most popular with your target demographic(s) and create an account. Stay active and responsive on there.
Share content from your website and link to the relevant pages to drive traffic to your domain. Build a presence and generate interest in your small business through ongoing engagement.
#9. Add Alt Tags to Images
Alt tags are designed to help visually-impaired users understand the content of an image, and they can help you rank better in image searches.
Make sure to add relevant keywords and use clear descriptive terms. This is a simple but effective technique.
#10. Take it Slowly
Boosting your online visibility, expanding your small business and climbing the results pages takes time. It’s tempting to expect instant results, but good SEO requires patience.
You have to focus on producing quality content, building a solid reputation, establishing a loyal customer base and using effective SEO strategies to rank higher as an ongoing process. This is a commitment for your business’s benefit, and can’t bring immediate success.
Reputation Mart’s SEO services in Toronto can help your small business reach your online goals! Want to know more? Just get in touch now to find out what we can do for you!
ReputationMart.com - passionate digital marketing team.